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Ask The Expert: Tim Tyrell-Smith and Alternative Personal Revenue Streams

January 31st, 2013

You know I’m working on my next book, 51 Alternatives to a Real Job.

Join me and Tim Tyrell-Smith on Tuesday at 9am Mountain Time for a fun conversation about this topic.

Job seekers are tired of a bad economy, and the resume black hole, age discrimination, and maybe mostly trying to get a job that has no assurance that it will last.

The chat on Tuesday is all about how to create your own “income security.”

Free registration here!

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Book Publishing: ebook (easy to pirate) vs soft copy (printed)

April 23rd, 2012

I’m continually asked if I’m going to jump on the ebook bandwagon.  It’s easy to distribute, the author gets more money if you sell through Amazon, and because the Kindle is so prominent (even the Kindle app on the i-devices), it’s so easy to tap into a huge audience of people who can purchase very, very easily (one click?).

I have been on the fence about ebook publishing, for books I want to sell (not give away), for years.

Here’s why: document sharing websites, like scribd, make it super easy for people with questionable ethics, to share your document at no cost.  Here’s an example: you can get my entire book, free, illegally, from scribd (URL here, but I’m not linking to it: scribd.com/doc/90301388/On-Linkedin).

Scribd is not a bad-guy site.  It’s not some offshore, shady torrent site where you can get anything, pirated, for free.

It’s more of a legitimate, trustworthy site, with real stuff.  Like docstoc and many other document sharing sites.

But it was so easy for someone with poor judgement, or no ethics, or who perhaps feels that everything should be free, to post my book in its entirety, to scribd. And I don’t see an easy way for me (or anyone) to say HEY, THIS IS PIRATED!  TAKE IT DOWN! No flag button or link.

A couple of years ago, a FENG (The Financial Executives Network Group) member took my ebook and illegally emailed it to the entire FENG email list.

Nice. Thousands of financial executives just got my book for free.  Did sales increase?  Nope.  You’d think financial execs would have more ethics than to let that happen.  When I asked the FENG leadership I got an apology, but the damage was done.

I only knew about that because one of my JibberJobber users was on that list, and they forwarded it to me.

As an author, and someone who is trying to earn money, I find the lack of integrity when it comes to stuff like this unsettling.

And that’s why I’m not enthusiastically planning on making 101 Alternatives to a Real Job an ebook.

But then, am I missing out on gobs of sales?

The decision hasn’t been made, but it’s hard to get excited about making a move that could completely wipe out any legitimate sales.

I’d love to know what you think.

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Small Choices, Big Consequences

February 21st, 2012

Remember when the Internet first became popular, many years ago?

Did we have any idea what changes were in our future?

We enjoyed what we had then, and looked forward to things that were to come.

We consumed information differently, and we bought things differently.  It changed our world, changed our lives, and changed the world.

We loved it.

We were excited about it.

That is, we loved it IF we weren’t a travel agent.

What’s that, you ask?  That was a title/role that was very popular, somewhat coveted, fun and rewarded, and utterly destroyed by the internet.

Oh well, too bad for them.  Just a casualty.

Then, the Internet started infringing on other industries and jobs.

What has the Internet done to the car sales, especially the used car sales, industry?  What about the movie industry, the newspaper industry, the post office, the ________, the ______, the ______ … the list can go on and on and on.

I’m going to say in general we didn’t care about the changes in those industries when it happened.  As consumers (of products, services, information) we were glad to see the changes, which enriched our lives.  As long as the downsizing, industry slaughter and casualties didn’t affect us directly, it was all for the good of society, and we could enjoy and be detached from the painful side of change.

Fast forward to today.  I’m not saying the Internet is responsible for any economic downfall, but it caused change and shifting in what our normal used to be.  And really, we voted for it.  With each click, and purchase, we voted for the change.  And now, we’re starting to realize what this change means to us, personally.

It’s the same thing with Wal-Mart.  I like Wal-Mart.  I shop there regularly.  It’s one of the first places I go to find something because they’ll usually have it.  There’s a Super Wal-Mart close to my house.  But every time I spend money there there, it hurts any local store.  (there aren’t many local stores around anymore… most of them are just smaller, or more niche, versions of Wal-Mart)

Its argued that buying at Wal-Mart hurts the U.S. economy, since most everything (gross exaggeration, I know) is manufactured outside of the U.S.  but we don’t think about that too much, when we drop $20 on something.  How could our $20 help, or hurt, the U.S. economy?  It can’t, can it?  Unless, of course, all those $20 bills add up to hundreds of millions, and billions… then it can hurt.

But my $20 can’t hurt.  Plus, it would take too much time and gas to go to two or three other stores just to find what I need.  Wal-Mart is… convenient!

What’s convenient now might be a killer down the road.  Speaking of killer….

What about McDonalds?  Just dropping by the drive-through can’t hurt, can it?  It’s just one meal… how can that have an impact on my body?  I’m hungry and need to feel my belly.

I drive by a McDonalds every time I leave my tiny town.  The last time I drove by I was with my kids and we were talking about nutrition.  I wondered if anything on the MickeyD’s menu had any nutritional value (or, any value that wasn’t outweighed by the horrific ingredients).

But it’s convenient, and cheap, to eat at McDonald’s.  Just this once.  Not a big deal.  It can’t hurt that bad, can it?

I was talking to a nutritionalist a few weeks ago.  She said one of the most addictive and harmful things her clients eat is french fries.  She said McDonalds rolls their fries in sugar, which makes them more addictive.  And her clients are on them like crack addicts are on crack.  Here’s a google search with more info on rolling fries in sugar.

What’s the point of all of this?

Change is inevitable.  No one can stop the Internet, even as it changes industries (ie travel), products (ie books), services (ie phone services).

Instead of getting in the steamroller’s path and then whining about being destroyed, how can you move, and then look for new opportunities?

Also, small decisions that we make will have an impact on the future we live in, and create for our children.

Attitudes, habits, ethics, our language, how and where we shop, will have more of an impact than we think.

My message for the last six years has been a message of “you CAN take control of your career, and your future.”  Today’s post is more macro, bigger than your career… you CAN take control of how you live, and what you get out of life.

You can even start today.

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Why I Don’t Support the “Put America Back To Work” Movement

November 18th, 2011

I don’t.  I don’t support it and I don’t believe in it.  Here’s why:

1. Today’s “job” is not the same as yesteryear’s “job.”

10 or 20 years ago, getting a job meant something bigger than what it means today.   It meant having a career. It meant job security.  It meant benefits, like good health insurance, pension, and more.

Getting that job meant you had ARRIVED, and you could take a breath, and relax.

Today, a job doesn’t come with good healthcare.  Companies that used to provide good healthcare have seen costs skyrocket, and so you have to pay more OR you get less coverage.  Hardly anyone offers pensions.  No company offers any job security.

Having a “job” today is more of a temporary status than it has been for a long time.  I can’t get behind a movement that seems to push towards getting something that is different than what you think you are getting.

2. Jobs aren’t here in abundance.

I know, I know, they are there.  You just have to find them.  You have to network in and find the hidden job market.  I BELIEVE THAT.  I have a good friend who got an amazing job at an organization that was on a hiring freeze…. his brand and network helped him land an amazing job.

There are a few factors that have an impact on the number of jobs.  The economy has been in the toilet long enough that employers are timid about bringing on new costs…. many seem to be holding their breath, waiting for better days (and less risk).

Also, the flat world has been too tempting for big companies to send billions of dollars of salaries overseas.  Whether you think that is right or wrong, it is reality… and those jobs won’t be back for a while (or, forever).

In the webinar we did with Mark Hovind this week (should be posted soon), we learned that things aren’t going to get “back to normal” for about four or five more years (back to normal -> about 7% unemployment).  That’s a LONG TIME.

3. Back to work is based on flawed metrics.

This is perhaps my biggest hangup. I don’t believe in many statistics, and the analysis thereof, especially from the government.

The success numbers behind “Back to work” go up when someone goes from not employed to employed.  Even if it is a temporary or part-time job.  The criteria is that they are getting a paycheck.  It might end after the season… or it might be 10 hours a week.  Regardless, the success measurement (which is GOT JOB=+1) is misleading.

The other hangup I have is that even if the job is a full-time, permanent, maybe even salaried job, the income might not be what you need to make.  If you lose a $70k job, and then find a $35k job, is that a success?  It might feel better to not be unemployed, but when you get that first paycheck and then realize you have to get a second or third job to make ends meet, it doesn’t feel like a success anymore.

I’m all about getting people back on their feet.  But I’m not convinced that “getting back to work,” or “getting a job,” is the right answer for everyone.

There are other options… other career strategies.  Like this concept.

Those are my three main thoughts… what do you think?

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101 Alternatives to a Real Job

October 31st, 2011

Happy Halloween.

Now that that is out of the way…

I’ve been working on a new project.  It was inspired by parts of many conversations I’ve had over the last couple of years.  This will be my next book, hopefully in print by the end of this year (or early in 2012).  I’m really hustling on it.

In part, it was inspired by Dick Bolles, author of the mega-best-seller What Color Is Your Parachute. Dick impressed the idea on me that as we (as speakers, authors, etc.) show people their alternatives, we give them hope.  I thought back to my job search when I felt all my alternatives had dried up, and how hopeless and out of control I felt.

When I got the idea for JibberJobber, which was an alternative, I know the hope I had, and exuded, was like night and day.

In part, this book was inspired by people I’ve talked to, after my presentations, about what they are doing, or what they could do, to earn some money “on the side.”

In part, this book was inspired by Robert Allen, and his book Multiple Streams of Income.

In part, this book was inspired by Timothy Ferris (4 Hour Work Week), who shares examples of people who are doing it (he calls their businesses their “muses“), and GaryVee (Gary Vaynerchuk), who included 4 killer ideas at the back of his book, Crush It.

In part, this book is inspired by the stories I hear about, and read about, of people who are ready to take the plunge and JUST DO IT. One in particular came from DOBA founder, about the dude who wanted to clean his garbage cans, and ended up making more per day than some make per week.

101 Alternatives to a Real Job is a book about hope.  It’s about alternatives. It’s about ideas.  The message is “these people are doing it, and maybe you can, too.”

Whether that means you start a business with the potential to make thousands each month, or just a hobby that makes a few hundred bucks a month.

I want to take the inspiration I’ve gotten from my audiences over the years and share it with millions of people… people who’s hope has been gone for a long time.  People who have been told there’s only one way to a good career.

This book shows 101 alternatives to that old definition of a “good career.”

Alternatives and options = Hope.

If you want to preorder, email me and let me know how you want to pay.  I’ll reply back with the options (check, Paypal, credit card)

To keep updated, watch this blog, or get on my LinkedIn Group.

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Job Opportunities (Create Your Own): No Better Mousetraps?

October 13th, 2011

I remember many years ago, thinking I wanted to be CEO of a major company.  Have the corporate jet, private bathroom, gym, etc.

As I got older I thought that would conflict with the type of family life I wanted.

So I thought, perhaps I can own my own company.

As I got older I realized I didn’t have any idea what I could do/sell better than what others were already doing/selling.

I figured all of the “better mousetraps” had already been invented, and there wasn’t room for anything more.

If you want to do something on your own, I am telling you: DO IT!

There are other ways to do things.  And maybe timing has a lot to do with it.

No one was doing JibberJobber (job search CRM) when I started it – it was THE better mousetrap for job seekers.

How about photo sharing?  There are gobs of services out there that let you do it, right?

Who is gutsy enough to make a go at Flickr??  No one that is sane.

Well, some “insane” people (I say that as a compliment) figured they would go for it.  They came out with Pinterest.  This weekend my wife said “have you heard of pinterest?” I hadn’t… but apparently the rest of the world had.

This could easily be a flicker killer, imo.

Combine photos + social (Twitter (2006) wasn’t around with Flickr (2004) started) in a brilliant way, and let’s you see what is trendy and cool (what gets buzz) in a way that Twitter should but doesn’t.

In other words, Pinterest is doing something much better than Flickr (who has a bit of social but not much, and it doesn’t make it look this good) and Twitter (who has some pic stuff, but doesn’t make it this easy and fun and engaging to look at (and get sucked into!!)).

Better mousetrap?

Yes, way better.

I encourage you to not set your dream aside.

Work towards it.  Believe in it.

Maybe the timing isn’t right for now, but it could be perfect soon.

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How Writing a Book Can Boost Your Career and Your Income

August 25th, 2011

My work continues to get awesome media mentions.  This one is from Meridith Levinson at CIO.com.  She titles it How Writing a Book Can Boost Your IT Career and Your Income.

She starts:

“Jason Alba always wanted to write a book. When he started his own business, a service for job seekers called JibberJobber, in 2006, he finally had the time. One night in January 2006, while dining out, Alba shared his book idea—an explanation of how job seekers could use LinkedIn in their job search—with some friends who had books published. Alba says they loved the idea, and one of them offered to introduce Alba to his publisher and serve as his executive editor.”

This is really a fun story… you can read the article here. I know many of you are interested in writing a book. My advice? DO IT!

One of my favorite quotes from her article:

“Even if your book sucks, even if it’s small, even if it’s lame, just being the author of a book … gives you credibility.”

Even if it SUCKS?

Yes, even if it sucks.

I’m not saying to write a sucky book, but don’t put it off for years, while you get to “excellent,” when you can get it published sooner, at “good enough.”

Meridith, thanks for letting me share my story with your readers :)

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Favorite Friday: Cleaning Garbage Cans for $400/day

July 15th, 2011

A couple of years ago I was inspired by a blog post from Jeremy Hanks, CEO of Doba.com, where he talked about a guy who knocked on his door asking if he could clean out his garbage can for $10 (or, both cans for $15).

Here’s the post I wrote after I read Jeremy’s post: Jeremy Hanks Pays To Get His Garbage Can Cleaned

It’s a nasty job, but homeowners aren’t really proud of the stench that accumulates over the years.

Jeremy was intrigued and paid the guy, and wrote about it.

I was intrigued, and inspired, and eventually figured out this would result in my fourth book (not sure what it will be titled yet, but it’s something like “101 Alternatives for Job Seekers: 101 ways to create alternative revenue streams while looking for a job”).

Since then I’ve found dozens of other real-life examples, and am compiling them for the book.

The idea, I think, all started from this ambitious garbage can man!

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Why Not?

June 9th, 2011

A few weeks ago I was in Charlotte, NC. It is a beautiful town with very cool people, and I had a great experience there.

One evening, at dinner, we were talking about the projects we were working on.

I was talking about stuff I am currently working on.  My thoughts wandered to my old employer from almost 6 years ago. If I would have proposed to do any of these projects six years ago they would not have been approved, for sure.

The management wouldn’t have seen how they would bring value to the organization, or the bottom line.

But I see how they bring value.

And so I’ve written a book.  It wasn’t supposed to make me any money, but I can easily attribute at least $100,000 of income to writing that book.

And I wrote another book.  Even though it took a lot of time, I did it.  And more money followed.

I decided to write a children’s book.  I did that on personal time, but by this time I realized I could do what I wanted.

And when doubt moved in, I asked “WHY NOT?

Why not write a children’s book?  I’m one line away from having that masterpiece done, but I did it.

Why not?

It has helped my refine writing skills, since it was a completely different style than I was accustomed to.

One night I thought of an awesome idea for a movie manuscript.

WHY NOT?

I started a couple of years ago, and recently made some excellent progress.

WHY NOT? Because there are thousands of movies.  Because I’m not a movie writer.  Because I don’t know what I’m doing, or what I’ll do when I have the first draft done.

But seriously, WHY NOT? Those are things that keep me from doing what I want to do.

I don’t have someone keeping me from doing it.

So I do it. I think about it. And sometimes I make progress on it.

After watching my oldest daughter excel at the piano for about 11 years I finally decided to take the plunge, sit down, and start learning the piano.

WHY NOT?

I’m too old, perhaps.  I don’t have enough time.  But I’ve always wanted to learn to play the piano.  I’d love to sit down and plunk out a tune, whether I’m alone and it’s to relax me, or because I’m somewhere and want to show my mad piano playing skillz.

Right now I can play a few tunes with my right hand.  I’m a beginner.  But I’m only a few months into it.  Wait for 11 years, like my daughter got, and I’ll be doing some pretty cool things on the keys.

My wife declared, one day, that she is a songwriter.

WHY NOT?

She didn’t make the best grades in school… so she really isn’t qualified to write for the arts, right?

But she’s been a student of lyrics for many, many years, and even wrote her first lyrics when she was around eleven.  Now her goal is to get her first 100 songs written, and go from there.

WHY NOT?

Why not do what you’ve always wanted to do?

You don’t have enough money?  Not good enough.

You don’t have enough time?  Not good enough.

You are too old (or too young)?  Not good enough.

Go for it.

At least try.

I’ve wanted to play the piano for decades.  It is too late for me, really.  But I don’t care.  Maybe I’ll be good at it when I’m 70.  And I’ll enjoy it!

Do it.  Try it.  Make progress.

There is NO reason to not move forward.

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Rethinking Abundance Mentality: Job Search Version

March 31st, 2011

I love the idea of the abundance mentality. You can find all kinds of descriptions online that talk about the abundance mentality, but the gist of it is that there is PLENTY to go around.  There is an abundance (defined:more than an adequate quantity) of _________ (whatever you think there is a lot of).

For example, right now, with today’s sucky housing marketing, there is an overabundance of houses on clearance.

In Puerto Rico, where I lived for a few years, there was an abundance of amazing beaches to visit.

In Utah, where I live now, there is an abundance of amazing geological wonders.

There’s more than enough to go around…. that’s the idea.

If you have an Abundance Mentality you are not concerned about getting your fair piece of the pie, worrying that the pie will run out.  You think the pie is big enough for everyone to have as much as they want.

I was reminded of the Abundant Mentality a few nights ago when my 10 year old son showed me the logo stuff he traded with a friend of his.  When I was his age I was not a trader… I was more a hoarder. I was proud of what I had and for some reason was not open to trading with others.  My son, however, trades toys with friends all the time.  It’s somewhat foreign to me, but they are all excited to do it.  They aren’t worried about having less, or fewer, or older, or whatever.

They know there is plenty to go around.

I thought about how, as job seekers, we are usually worried about losing out on that one job, or the few job openings that are right for us.

We are concerned that if someone else gets our job, we lose out, and we’ll have more days, weeks, months to be in unemployment hell.

It’s scary.

Lately, there has really not been any “abundance” of jobs.

I started to wonder, though, if we are thinking about abundance of the wrong thing?

Should we be wondering about an abundance of jobs (no one feels there is an abundance of jobs right now)?

Let’s go back to the beginning… I think many of us are not after a JOB so much as we are after an income.

Is there an abundance of MONEY?

Seriously, is there an abundance of MONEY??

I think there is.

We spend a lot of time chasing after the job, and get discouraged because we feel there isn’t enough to go around, all the while there is an abundance of money.  (read my post on the Job Search Rabbit Hole, where I talk about chasing the wrong thing)

We just have to figure out how to get it.

What do you think… am I on to something or am I just daydreaming?

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